New Jail Project Update
A Letter from Sheriff Sickler
Here’s an update on our ongoing efforts to fund the construction and operation of a new jail. So far, six Jackson County cities – Medford, Phoenix, Central Point, Butte Falls, Eagle Point, and Rogue River – have agreed to refer the matter of a proposed county-wide jail service district to voters.
The current proposed funding rate of $0.8353 per $1000 assessed property value, would cost the average home owner in Jackson County about $157 dollars per year – the equivalent of 43-cents per day. This funding will allow the construction and operation of a modern 800-bed jail, while significantly increasing our resources for addiction and mental health services. Because the Jackson County library bonds fall off the tax rolls this year, property taxes will be reduced by approximately 12.5-cents per $1000 of assessed property value.
This week and next, city councils in Ashland, Gold Hill, Jacksonville, and Shady Cove will consider the proposal during their respective meetings. Last week, councilors in Talent had the matter on their agenda and chose not to vote on the resolution at this time, saying they did not support the plan. But, in order for Jackson County voters to have an opportunity to vote on the service district proposal this November, all eleven incorporated cities need to agree to enter the proposed district by May 17.
If any city decides not to participate in the current proposed district, it would essentially start the process over again – a process that would not be completed in time to allow voters to decide in 2019. A new district would need to be drawn, excluding the boundaries that have opted out. An analysis would also need to be completed to see how further delays would impact the cost of construction and, therefore, the district rate. A new tax rate would be figured and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (BOC) would again consider whether they want to move forward with the district. Then each city council would again decide whether to participate and refer the proposal to voters.
In the meantime, I will continue to provide the cities and the people of Jackson County with more opportunities to learn about the local criminal justice system and the numerous problems related to a lack of jail capacity. Anyone with questions or a request to see the jail project presentation can call (541) 770-8923. More information can also be found on our website: http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/Jail/New-Jail-Project.
Thank you for your support.
Sheriff Nathan Sickler